Published on April 18th, 2013 | by Charu Suri
0 What to Expect at this Weekend’s New York Travel Festival
An inaugural festival is both exciting and challenging because with it comes hope and expectations of change. There’s no question that we need better quality travel festivals. Most of my personal experiences with travel shows are actually media shows (I’m referring to the popular New York Times Travel Show, T+L Travel Bazaar etc.). It’s time that the travel sphere has a festival that is not by and large not affiliated with a large publication. The New York Travel Festival (affectionately referred to in inner circles as New York Trav Fest), is the brainchild of Roni Weiss who hopes to address travel in a slightly different way.
Since the New York Travel Festival debuts this weekend, we caught up with Roni Weiss in a Q&A to ask him what consumers can expect.
Q. What inspired you to start the NY TravFest?
Roni Weiss: The first time I went to a consumer travel show was in 2011. I loved it. I got to meet lots of fantastic people and experience travel in a way I hadn’t before (from a business perspective). After going to a few, it got old pretty quickly because standard travel shows are the same thing all the time. After speaking to people I know in the industry, media, and assorted travel consumers, I realized I wasn’t the only one disatisfied by it all. My initial conversations with people encouraged me to try to make something new. And that’s what New York Travel Festival is intended to be: something new (check out Roni’s articles here and here on the topic).
Q. Who is the audience?
We say it’s for “younger, tech-savvy, immersive travelers. Basically, anyone who doesn’t need a stack of brochures to make their travel decisions. People who don’t know what they don’t know and want to know it.
Q. What can consumers expect from the Festival?
On Saturday, we have four rooms at Bohemian National Hall, which is an absolutely gorgeous venue on the Upper East Side. The Mainstage has most of the “big names”, with our Keynote being @WheresAndrew (Andrew Evans), National Geographic’s Digital Nomad. The Third Floor consists of:
a) Taste of the Hudson Valley (presented by offMetro.com), where people will be able to have a variety of tastings from regional farms, restaurants, wineries, and chocolatiers.
b) Local/Regional Breakout, where we have a lot of great content focused on things you can do in New York City, the State and beyond. Expect plenty of giveaways, esp. in the first panel and the Family Travel panel (at which I’m speaking!). We have the Niche Breakout in the Cinema, where you’ll be able to hear about Responsible Travel (moderated by Ethan Gelber of The Travel Word), a women’s travel panel and more.
On Sunday, we have tours available in all five boroughs in NYC.
Q. What do you think needs to happen in this age of technology and travel that isn’t currently being addressed?
The further I’ve gone with this project, the more I’ve realized that the process is actually a huge part of the event itself. By figuring out what the different players needed, I was crowd sourcing my content. That’s exactly what I hope for from NYTF (and the future Travel Festivals that I intend to start worldwide). Every event should be focused on the needs and desires of the people attending. We’re no longer in a time where you can just tell people what they want. It’s more effective when you ask them, anyway, and we now have a variety of tools to better meet in the middle.
For tickets to the New York Travel Festival, visit this page. Email Roni for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.